I am surprised that no one here is highlighting the religious undertones of "Lone Wolf and Cub". Ogami Itto
is an incredibly honest and determined samurai who follows his path with unswayvering loyalty. Ogami does not refuse the Shogun's order out of rebellion, but rather he forsakes the path of humans, Rikudou Shishou, and travels in Meifumado
, the Buddhist
hell and path of demons. The few samurai who see through the plots of the Yagyu
praise Ogami's loyalty to the shogun
, but as he says when the seppuku
order comes: "those who follow the path of demons are no longer men!"
The path through Meifumado entails a reversal of all the ways of the path of men. Every instinct and assumption is null and void. I find a passage from volume 8 to be descriptive:
The scene a winter day at a monastery. Kazama Ichizu has challenged Ogami to a duel to avenge her husband. Just before combat begins, Daigoro falls through the ice on the pond and begins to drown, leading to the following dialog:
Kazama: Ogami-dono? Y-your son!! You won't help him?!
Ogami: I am father but not father. He is son but not son. Wherever we go is a battlefield. We follow byakudou, the white way of our quest, trusting in our hearts that there is life in death. Thus we accept all that is to come, all chance, all fortune!
For you too, there should only be the road of your quest! Do not worry for him. Now... ATTACK!!
There is a great deal of discussion about paths, and the paths of other people that he meets. It is shown how difficult Ogami's path is, so much more than death or normal life. In this I think there is a strong dissimilarity to the Clint Eastwood archetype alluded to by bitter_engineer
, which esposes a freewheeling chaos where the hero basically has a fine time doing whatever after having cast off the chains of society. "Lone Wolf and Cub" is a facinating morality tale about dedication to a path -- any path.